What are the two best introductory episodes to Deadwood?
August 17, 2009 5:59 PM   Subscribe

Deadwood is my favorite television show of all time and my girlfriend has agreed to let me show her two episodes to try to get her hooked. I think she might like it, as she is well read and appreciates complicated storytelling, but she is totally uninterested in the time period and doesn't watch a lot of television. What two episodes would you suggest showing someone to highlight Deadwood at its best.

The added difficultly is that obviously there is a lot one will miss without knowing what comes before, so that has to be taken into account. I was thinking of showing one episode that is particularly humorous and one that highlights the exquisite dialogue.
posted by Falconetti to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
The first two.
posted by floam at 6:05 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


And maybe try and get her to listen to Milch's commentary track.
posted by Good Brain at 6:09 PM on August 17, 2009


First two. Can't miss the introduction of Al Swearengenn
posted by vito90 at 6:09 PM on August 17, 2009


To go further: I realize the first two aren't all that humorous, but I think out of context cherrypicking some non-sequitor "funny episode" is going to at most trick her into watching a show she won't like, but more likely just spoil things and not make any sense to watch.
posted by floam at 6:13 PM on August 17, 2009


First two, in part because you don't want to get her hooked only to disappoint her later (lest she not trust you going forward.) Let it draw her in the same way it drew you in, and if it doesn't, at least you tried.
posted by davejay at 6:21 PM on August 17, 2009


Yes. From the beginning.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 6:22 PM on August 17, 2009


Yes, the first two, and I don't say that facetiously. Jumping in at the middle may backfire since Deadwood is kind of a complex story that builds onto previous episodes even if only in subtle ways. When drawing my wife into a series that I'm not sure she'll like, we always agree to just watch an episode or two to see how it goes, so I think you've got the right idea, but definitely start at the beginning.
posted by crapmatic at 6:28 PM on August 17, 2009


Agreed wholeheartedly with what everyone has said in this thread - you have to start at the start. The show is complicated enough as it is. Trying to start in the middle would wind up making it boring, because you'd constantly have to pause and explain stuff. "Okay, so that guy used to be Wild Bill's sidekick, but now he runs a mail delivery company... oh, well, Wild Bill got killed a few episodes earlier... no, they didn't have the U.S. Postal Service back then because they weren't actually part of the United States... well, you see, Deadwood is actually in Indian territory...." I think you get my drift.

I would go further and say you might want to try convincing your gf to give it three episodes. That's what it took to get me into it. The first episode, I was like, "Eh." The second episode was, "Okay, this may actually be decent." And the third, I was completely hooked. I've always told people to give it three episodes.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 6:40 PM on August 17, 2009


If you do get her to watch, try and also get her to read the Onion A.V. Club for an episode by episode analysis/blog of the show. It got me thinking about the series in a deeper way and I now want to rewatch the show and it can also help out with any aspect of the show that might confuse the viewer.
posted by Green With You at 6:41 PM on August 17, 2009


The overwhelming consensus has swayed me. After posting this question, I was watching some of favorite scenes and I realized that if I didn't know what happened before, they would barely make any sense. Others please feel free to suggest otherwise.
posted by Falconetti at 6:50 PM on August 17, 2009


My boyfriend has succeeded in getting me hooked on Deadwood. We started from the beginning, and I will admit that I wasn't into the first few episodes at all. I had difficulty following the characters in the beginning, and I was not fond of what I considered to be gratuitous and historically inaccurate cursing.

A few explanations later-- "No, that's Bullock, not Sol!"-- and a discussion of whether historically accurate cursing would have been effective or unintentionally hilarious, I started to warm to it.

We're in the middle of season 2 now, so I can't speak to the whole thing, but I don't think there are any two episodes that would have convinced me without the discussions. Maybe the first two of season 2? The "from the beginning" advice is certainly valid, but I really disliked the first two episodes of the series.
posted by charmcityblues at 7:07 PM on August 17, 2009


Playing the Al Swearingen Drinking Game might ease her into it. Everytime Al takes a drink, you take a drink.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:31 PM on August 17, 2009


I wasn't hooked at all until episode 4 or 5, the first two were pretty boring (especially the first) and even though they were the beginning, still confused me. I might even suggest the last two of season one but you'd have to be allowed a bit of a preamble to explain what's going on.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:13 PM on August 17, 2009


Jumping on here, I definitely recommend the first two. I hooked my boyfriend about a month ago and we are halfway through the third season. If you started with anything else than the first episodes, you'd have to keep stopping and saying stuff like "ooh, see that guy with the sweaty hands? He's E.B. Farnham! Let me tell you a little about E.B...." and she'd get bored. The introductions happen naturally enough and I hope she gets into the series!
posted by amicamentis at 8:19 PM on August 17, 2009


I liked the series from the start, and agree that you should try to get her to sit for the first three episodes, not two. But it really picked up for me in episodes 5 and 6, when the town starts to have to act like a town to deal with


*spoilers*





the murder of Wild Bill Hickock and the smallpox plague.
posted by mediareport at 8:44 PM on August 17, 2009


Any one not involving the words Cocksucker
posted by A189Nut at 1:06 AM on August 18, 2009


Is there actually an episode that does not use cocksucker???? I am a forty something woman not at all interested in the time period or that genre of show either. What I do love is HBO's series, so I started watching it anyway. I was hooked after 2 shows, and it is one of my favorite all time series. Start at the beginning definitely.
posted by maxg94 at 6:21 AM on August 18, 2009


Definitely start at the beginning - the intricate politics will be completely baffling if you start somewhere in the middle - plus the humor only really comes through if you've been with the characters from the beginning (for example, I still laugh when I think about the episode where Swearengen pulls out a huge magnifying glass to read something and says loudly "Yes, it has come to this." But, if you don't know his character, then that line isn't funny at all).

And I actually found it helpful to watch with the subtitles sometimes - just to keep people straight, especially when they were tossing around new phrases like "road agents", etc. Tell her to ignore the time period; the real meat is the characters & the story.
posted by witchstone at 6:48 AM on August 18, 2009


Funny. I popped in here to say "anything but the first one!" which was what convinced me the show was deadly boring, and gave me the impression that it was trying way too hard to be edgy through swearing (not that I mind swearing, it just seemed so self-conscious about it).

I actually checked this question out because so many people whose tv tastes are congruent with mine like it and I was hoping to find a different episode to try to watch to try to see if I could like it. But if you "have to" watch the first two first, then I don't think I'll be able to get through it.
posted by carmen at 6:48 AM on August 18, 2009


If you play the Al Swearingen drinking game long enough, the Al Swearingen sex acts game may be in play.
posted by Darth Fedor at 7:36 AM on August 18, 2009


In case anyone cares, my girlfriend and I have watched the first six episodes of Deadwood so far and she has gotten into it. She is not quite as enthuisiastic as I am about it, but she definitely likes the show and we are going to, at the lease, finish the first season together. I think she really started getting more into it when Wild Bill was shot. She didn't know the relevant history so it came as a bit of a shock to her (although she is savvy enough to know that his death was foreshadowed, but she didn't think it would come so soon into the show). Thanks for everyone convincing me to start with the first two, it really was the only way.
posted by Falconetti at 12:56 PM on September 17, 2009


Another update (I am sure no one is interested, but why not): We are almost finished with the last season. She has really grown to like the show a lot. She is also much better at untangling the plot her first time through than I was.
posted by Falconetti at 10:01 AM on January 12, 2010


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